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Helmet incident was 'total accident,' says Austin Gleeson

There were fears that the player would miss the upcoming All-Ireland SHC final.

A screengrab of the incident in question.
A screengrab of the incident in question.

Updated at 21.08

WATERFORD GAA STAR Austin Gleeson has played down the controversial helmet incident in the All-Ireland semi-final against Cork, calling it a “total accident”.

There were fears that Gleeson could miss the upcoming All-Ireland SHC final against Galway through suspension, after he pulled Cork player Luke Meade’s helmet off, with former Kilkenny player Eddie Brennan among those to condemn the star’s behaviour.

However, Gleeson was ultimately cleared to play in the hurling season’s biggest game on 3 September, after the 22-year-old defender escaped sanction for the incident.

And speaking on RTÉ 2fm’s Game On, Gleeson suggested the decision to let him off the hook was the right one.

We don’t really want to dwell on it but it was a total accident,” he said. “But thankfully, nothing came out of it, and I’m looking forward to playing in the final.”

The 2016 Hurler of the Year added that he was unaware of the furore surrounding the moment of controversy until the issue was raised after the game, though he acknowledged the potential danger in removing a player’s helmet and called for greater clarification on the rule in order to decrease the likelihood of similar incidents occurring in future.

Two Waterford players, Stephen Bennett and Tadhg De Burca, have been penalised with one-game bans for helmet interference already this season.

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